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Brussels, 20th April 2005

Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of Unipetrol by PKN Orlen

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Czech petroleum company Unipetrol by the Polish company PKN Orlen. The Commission concluded that the operation would not significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it since the activities of the two companies did not overlap to a significant extent.

PKN Orlen is a public company mainly active in crude oil processing and the manufacture of petroleum and petrochemical products as well as their storage, transport and distribution.

Unipetrol is a company which is active in the fuels and petroleum sector as well as petrochemicals, fertilizers and plastic industries.

Historically, PKN Orlen used to be a state-owned company, which, before Poland had an open market economy, was the only company in that country able to produce and sell petroleum products and its derivates. Unipetrol has until now remained owned by the Czech state. Unipetrol also used to enjoy a monopoly position beforethe Czech Republic had a market economy. The operation, which is a step towards the privatisation of Unipetrol, will lead to the creation of a large regional player in the oil sector. The Commission has verified that this does not cause competitive concerns. In particular, the Commission has taken account of the fact that the new group remains of a limited size compared to its main competitors, the multinational oil companies.

The Commission conducted a market investigation, which focussed on the markets for non-retail sales of gasoline and diesel, soda lye and bitumen. Due to the limited overlaps of the parties┬┤ activities in Poland and the Czech Republic, and the presence of multinational competitors the Commission has decided to clear the transaction.

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